The first year I decorated our yard for Halloween was 1999. The first year we through a Halloween party was 1998.
Our parties tend to fall on the legendary side. Between setup, cleanup, and out-of-town guests, the party is a 3-4 day affair. People reserve our spare beds a year in advance. The day of the party itself, we’re going from 10AM until 5AM, cooking, drinking, and talking. Over the 10 hours the party is actively going, we have 50-60 guests in and out.
Our yard is a neighborhood attraction. We’ve been on the news and in the newspaper. By the end of Halloween night, the path through the yard is nearly worn down to bare dirt. The spot the large coffin sits takes 6 weeks to rejuvenate in the spring. I’ve literally scared kids right out of their masks. Little old ladies have jumped out in the air, shrieking, only to ask me to hide again, so they can bring their husbands over to enjoy the startle.
This year, we end the 13-year unbroken streak of fear and debauchery. We’ve been doing this since before any my oldest kid was weaned.
It’s hard to take a break, but…
Dealing with my mother-in-law’s house has been far too much work for us. We spent all summer cleaning out the hoarding mess.
And fixing up the yard.
And replacing the boiler.
And fixing the plumbing.
And updating the electrical system.
And fixing up the basement.
And patching the walls.
And selling the cars.
And sorting through 30 years of every scrap of paper that has ever come through the house.
And dealing with all of the memories, and the pictures, and the past.
It’s been too much, and it’s not done.
Now, it’s the middle of October, and the idea of stealing the extra time to add the extra stress of setting up the yard and throwing a big party makes me want to break down.
Two days to set up the yard, only to have some kid steal my favorite, irreplaceable pieces, then two days to pack it all up.
A day of decorating inside, followed by a party and a hungover day of cleaning it all up.
All of that, while losing time from the side business and pushing through to the end of the property preparation from hell.
I can’t do it, so, as sad as it makes me, we’re taking the year off. No Halloween events at my house this year.